Reaching out to a long-lost family member can be a scary yet exhilarating process, especially if the relative in question is a half-sibling who you are a complete stranger to. Whether you were adopted or your sibling was, getting in touch with them can be a tricky situation to navigate. You need to be tactful when contacting your siblings and carefully consider your individual situation when deciding on the best method of contact. And, be prepared for any negative feelings that you might have if your efforts to get in touch with and build a relationship with your sibling don’t go as you’d hoped.

Consider the Circumstances

First of all, you should question your reasons for wanting to make contact. Reuniting with a long-lost relative can be a very emotional experience, and you also can’t predict the outcome. It may be that your sibling doesn’t have any interest in getting to know you, and you will need to be prepared to accept this and move on. Before you get started, it’s important to be clear on your reasons for wanting to connect with them.

Do you simply want them to know that you exist? Perhaps you are going through a difficult point in your life, like suffering from a terminal illness, and are seeking closure. Perhaps you lack other family or a support system and feel that getting in touch with your sibling could be mutually beneficial. Has a key family member such as a parent or grandparent recently passed, prompting you to make the most of your time while you have it? Think long and hard about why you want to start this journey.

Be Prepared for Potential Negative Consequences

While it’s a good idea to anticipate how you’d like your sibling to react when they learn of your existence and that you want to get in touch with them, remember that they are human and there’s no way for you to accurately predict how they might react. If you know the details of why you were separated from your sibling in the first place, this might be able to help you determine what to expect.

For example, if your half-siblings are from a wealthy background and you are not, be prepared for the possibility of them distrusting your motives at the beginning. Or if your birth was the result of an affair, introducing yourself to your half-siblings could lead to big family secrets being uncovered. Or if your biological parent is still in a relationship with their parent, it might upset them to learn that this betrayal existed.

Speak to Your Parents if Possible

If it’s possible to speak to either of your parents about your plans, this can be a good idea for many reasons. They may have details of an adoption agency if one of your parents gave your half-sibling up for adoption or contact details for the other parent. However, you should also anticipate the possibility of them disapproving of your decision, especially if your half-sibling was conceived through infidelity, or are the result of a bad previous relationship.

Choose a time to speak to them when everybody is feeling relaxed and free of distractions. Bring up the topic casually and ask them open questions to determine what they think of it; remember that you’re asking for their opinion and advice, but ultimately you don’t need their permission – unless you are a minor.

Finding Identifying Information

In some cases, your parents might be able to provide you with contact details that you can use to get in touch with your long-lost sibling. Or you might consider DNA research options and websites like 23andMe (you must know the basic ways of 23andme vs ancestry finding sites to navigate and utilize the same) to find out the right details. But on the other hand, you might need to do some digging, for example, if your sibling was adopted in a closed adoption process.

A good place to start is Public Records Reviews. You can use this service to find sites where you can access a whole range of public records and information, potentially tracking down your half-sibling. You will need some information, such as their name and date of birth, to successfully search for birth records and other documents that could help you learn more about them and where to find them. Birth records can give you important clues such as their other parents’ full name, the area in which they live, their age, and more.

Another option to consider is signing up for a state registry service if you or your half-sibling was adopted. These registries allow adoptees and their birth relatives to sign up and permit their information to be shared with anybody hoping to find them. If your half-sibling knows that they have relatives they’ve never met and wants to find you, there’s a high chance that they could have signed up already.

Reuniting with long-lost family members who you have not seen since infancy or perhaps never met at all can be a beautiful thing, but it’s important that you are prepared for the process and any potential outcomes.